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Cyclone Michaung: Stay Healthy And Safe By Following These Dos and Don'ts

Cyclone Michaung: Stay Healthy And Safe By Following These Dos and Don'ts
Scene from Chennai: A flood relief team member providing assistance to a stranded woman. (Photo: Twitter/@IN_HQTNP)

Once the cyclone has passed, remain in the shelter until you are officially informed to return to your house. Get inoculated against diseases immediately.

Written by Prerna Mittra |Updated : December 6, 2023 11:01 AM IST

For a while now, cyclone Michaung has been wreaking havoc in many parts of the country. According to reports, it has led to loss of lives and livelihood in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Many people, including a child, were reported to have died in rain-related incidents in the states, with videos of flooded airports and residential areas doing the rounds of the internet. In one video, several cars were seen floating away inside an apartment complex in Chennai with people looking on helplessly. Another report stated that at least 17 people died in rain-related incidents in Chennai alone. Local authorities have been working hard to evacuate the vulnerable from low-lying areas in both these states.

The latest update is that it is likely to bring rainfall in several other states as the cyclone moves northwards. According to India's weather forecasting agency, India Meteorological Department (IMD), isolated heavy rainfall is likely to happen over north coastal Andhra Pradesh on December 6. Along with that, heavy rainfall is expected in Telangana and isolated heavy rainfall over south Chhattisgarh on December 6. The southern districts of Odisha are on high alert as well.

If you are currently residing in any of these states, know that there are preparatory measures you can take to ensure your safety as well as the safety of your loved ones before, during, and after a cyclone. Save lives by following the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)'s instructions.

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Before the cyclone

  1. Check the house; secure loose tiles and carry out repairs of doors and windows.
  2. Remove dead branches or dying trees close to the house; anchor removable objects such as lumber piles, loose tin sheets, loose bricks, garbage cans, sign-boards etc., which can fly in strong winds.
  3. Keep some wooden boards ready so that glass windows can be boarded.
  4. Keep a hurricane lantern filled with kerosene, battery operated torches, and dry cells as there may be power outage.
  5. Keep some extra batteries for transistors.
  6. Keep some dry non-perishable food ready for use in an emergency.

According to the NDMA, the actions that need to be taken in the event of a cyclone threat can broadly be divided into: immediately before the cyclone season; when cyclone alerts and warnings are issued; when evacuations are advised; and when the cyclone has crossed the coast.

For states that are anticipating cyclones,

  1. Listen to the radio (All India Radio stations for weather warnings). This will help you prepare for a cyclone emergency. Pass the information to others.
  2. Ignore rumours and do not spread them; avoid panic situations.
  3. When a cyclone alert is on for your area, continue working normally, but stay alert to the radio warnings.
  4. Stay alert for the next 24 hours as a cyclone alert means that the danger is within 24 hours.

If you are in cyclone-warning area, get away from low-lying areas that are close to the coast, and keep in mind the following things:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Leave early before the shelter gets flooded. Do not delay and run the risk of being marooned.
  3. If your house is securely built on high ground take shelter in a safe part of the house. If asked to evacuate, do as told.
  4. Board up glass windows or put storm shutters in place. Provide strong suitable support for outside doors.
  5. If you do not have wooden boards handy, paste paper strips on glasses to prevent splinters.
  6. Get extra food, which can be prepared without cooking. Store extra drinking water in suitably covered vessels.
  7. If you have to evacuate the house, move your valuable articles to upper floors to minimise damage.
  8. Ensure that your hurricane lantern, torches or other emergency lights are in working condition.
  9. Small and loose things, which can fly in strong winds, should be stored safely in a room.
  10. Be sure that a window and door can be opened only on the side opposite to the one facing the wind.
  11. Make provision for children and adults requiring a special diet.
  12. If the centre of the cyclone is passing directly over your house, there will be a lull in the wind and rain for half an hour or so. During this time do not venture out, because immediately after that the 'eye' of the cyclone might pass. Winds might intensify and gush again and cause damage. Stay inside till it is officially announced that the cyclone has passed.
  13. Switch off the electrical mains in your house.

If and when you are instructed to evacuate

Pack essentials for yourself and your family to last a few days: medicines, special food for babies and children, or elders. Head to a proper shelter or evacuation point as indicated for your area. Do not worry about your property. Once you arrive at the shelter, follow the instructions of the person in-charge. Remain in the shelter until you are informed to leave.

Post-cyclone measures

This is the most crucial bit. Remain in the shelter until you are officially informed to return to your house. Get inoculated against diseases immediately. Strictly avoid loose and dangling wires from lamp posts. If you have to drive, do it carefully. Clear debris from your premises immediately. Report losses to appropriate authorities.

Stay safe!